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California Bill to Legalize Psychedelics Has 50% Chance of Passing This Year
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Lawmakers are considering a bill to legalize personal possession of psychedelics, but even if the bill fails, voters may still have a chance to legalize psilocybin mushrooms.
Published on January 10, 2022

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California lawmakers are on the verge of passing a bill that would legalize the personal possession and use of shrooms, acid, molly, or pretty much any other psychedelic drug. 

The new proposal, sponsored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, would legalize the possession of psilocybin, DMT, MDMA, LSD, ibogaine, and most other psychedelic drugs for adults over 21. Peyote would remain illegal, though, as it is an endangered cactus specifically protected for use by Native Americans. All sales of these entheogens would remain illegal, but adults would be allowed to freely share them with other adults.

The state Senate already passed a version of this bill last June, but Wiener decided to consult with advocates and members of the state Assembly before allowing it to advance further. The lawmaker recently told Marijuana Moment that his coalition of activists and veterans “have been advocating and organizing around the bill” and “meeting with Assembly members to build more support” for the legislation over the past six months.

The initial version of the bill would have legalized ketamine and also allowed people who had previously been busted for psychedelics to have their criminal records cleared, but both of these elements have been removed. And while the earlier version would have allowed adults to possess any quantity of psychedelics, the new version will include specific possession limits. 

Wiener told Marijuana Moment that although he would have preferred “not to have possession limits,” he believes that the new limits are “very reasonable” and hopes that these concessions will improve the bill's chance of success. “Sometimes you have a choice about, do you want to pass a meaningful bill, or do you want to insist on the perfect and pass no bill?”

In order to succeed, the amended legislation must pass the state Senate again before it moves on to the Assembly, where it is likely to face greater opposition. Still, Wiener believes that the bill's chances of success are “probably 50/50” at this time. Governor Gavin Newsom would also need to sign off on the bill, but he has yet to indicate whether or not he supports it.

Even if politicians ultimately choose to reject the proposal, California still has another shot at psychedelics reform. Last July, advocacy group Decriminalize California petitioned to place a psilocybin legalization measure on the state's 2022 election ballot. Unlike Wiener's bill, this proposal would only legalize psilocybin mushrooms and not all psychedelics. But uniquely, it would also create a legal, regulated shroom retail market similar to California's adult-use cannabis industry.

And even if this effort fails, individual cities and towns are likely to continue passing ordinances to decriminalize natural psychedelics on a local level. Oakland and Santa Cruz, along with several cities outside of California, have already directed local police to stop busting people for psychedelics possession, and activists are campaigning to help other cities and states implement similar reforms.

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Chris Moore
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Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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